It is heartening to know that after introducing direct container shipping service from Chattogram port to Italy, the same facility is going to be introduced to two more European destinations - Spain and Netherlands - this month. Moreover, efforts are underway to launch direct shipping with different ports of Portugal and the UAE. Introduction of more direct shipping service to European and other long-haul destinations is certainly a milestone for the country’s foreign trade.
The service will hugely benefit the country’s export-oriented sectors, especially the ready-made garment sector since Europe is their one of the biggest export destinations. Currently, goods-laden vessels en-route to Europe from Chattogrm port need to avail transshipment facilities from different ports in Singapore, Malaysia or China. This is both time consuming and costly. For example, it takes the ships 35 to 40 days now; whereas, a direct route will bring down shipping times to around 20 days. Besides, it is estimated that the exporters could save 10-15 per cent of the previous expenditures through direct shipping service.
For example, Bangladesh RMG is a dynamic industry where product features and sophistication are continuously changing. As a result apparel makers are always in a rush to reduce lead time. But allegedly a cumbersome bureaucratic procedure in the port often gets in the way of hassle-free import and export, impeding the manufacturers’ initiative to quickly deliver their export products. The long time between product order and product delivery has led many western brands to prefer nearshoring. Therefore, introduction of direct shipping service to various European destinations is a step in the right direction. It is hoped that the government will take all out measures to improve the situation. Beginning from our bureaucracy to taxation to port facility, everything should be simplified to increase competitiveness of our exporters in the global market.